Ultra Materials for a Resilient, Smart Electricity Grid

Project: Research project

Project Details


Ultra Materials for a Resilient, Smart Electricity Grid Ultra Materials for a Resilient, Smart Electricity Grid Objective: A resilient, smart electricity grid is necessary to integrate multiple energy sources, power storage capabilities, and diverse electrical needs. Ultra wide bandgap (UWBG) semiconductors have been identified in the Microelectronics Basic Research Needs report as a crucial enabling materials technology. These UWBG semiconductor and dielectric materials (or Ultra materials) present a new realm for high field transport, electron-phonon interactions, and heat transport. Understanding their novel properties will enable reinventing the electricity grid by providing efficient energy conversion and control (Smart Grid) and a significant reduction in size: a substation could be replaced by a suitcase-sized power converter (Resilient Grid). Description: The Mission of the Ultra EFRC is to understand fundamental phenomena in UWBG materials including synthesis, defect and impurity incorporation, electronic structure at interfaces, interaction of electrons and phonons at high fields to achieve extreme electrical properties, and phonon phenomena that affect thermal transport. The Center will establish a Co-design ecosystem enabling communication across all levels of the science and technology. The Center will focus on basic science challenges in four Thrusts: 1) growth, defects, and impurities, 2)heterogeneous interfaces, 3) carrier dynamics and high field transport, and 4) thermal energytransport and interfaces. The Ultra materials of interest include cubic diamond, hexagonal AlNand BxAl1-xN alloys which bridge the two, and oxide and fluoride dielectrics. The team bringstogether experts in MBE, MOCVD and plasma CVD growth techniques, advanced microscopy,defect analysis, interface electronic states characterization, high field transport, thermal properties,and thermal imaging measurements; this expertise is integrated with a theory, modeling, andcomputational team that bring ab initio models, non-linear dynamics, self-consistent Monte Carloheat transport, and high throughput simulations and materials informatics. Potential Impact: Ultra EFRC will establish a Future Grid Co-Design Ecosystem, and develop a knowledge-base of UWBG materials and properties to Reinvent the Electricity Grid. The outcomes will include: 1) synthesis of cubic and hexagonal UWBG semiconductors, 2) experimental and theoretical understanding of defects and doping that transcends the materials systems, 3) characterized UWBG heterostructures and demonstrated new routes to doping that exploit the properties of interfaces, 4) developed a deep understanding of electric breakdown phenomena and high current transport in UWBG semiconductors, 5) characterized electron-phonon interactions and understood the thermal transport in UWBG materials and importantly, their interfaces. The research will provide a roadmap projecting how to achieve a breakdown field greater than 10 MV/cm and how to achieve current densities greater than 100,000 A/cm2 while efficiently conducting the heat away. Significantly, the Center will provide critical input into design simulation tools for a new generation of high power devices and power conversion modules and work with grid architect researchers to emphasize the most relevant properties of the UWBG semiconductors as part of the Future Grid Co-Design Ecosystem.
Effective start/end date8/1/207/31/24


  • DOE: Office of Science (OS): $11,144,000.00


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